Big Bill Broonzy – Complete Recorded Works 1927 – 1947 Vol 7 (1937-38)
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Big Bill Broonzy
Complete Recorded Works (c. November 1927 – 15th September 1951)
Vol. 7: 13th October 1937 to 15th September 1938
Featuring the recordings of:
Big Bill Broonzy, vocal, guitar; Blind John Davis, piano; Fred Williams, drums. Big Bill Broonzry, vocal, guitar; Blind John Davis, piano; Bill Settles, stand-up bass. Big Bill Broonzy, vocal, guitar; accompanied probably by Bill Owsley, tenor sax; Blind John Davis, piano; George Barnes, electric guitar. Big Bill Broonzy, vcl; acc. Punch Miller, trumpet; Joshua Altheimer, piano; Fred Williams. drums. Big Bill Broonzy, vocal, guitar; Joshua Altheimer, piano; probably Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass. Big Bill Broonzy, vocal, guitar; Bill Owsley, clarinet 19,20,21 / tenor sax on18,19; probably Joshua Altheimer, piano; probably George Barnes, electric guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass. Big Bill And The Memphis Five: Big Bill Broonzy, vocal, guitar; accompanied by Walter Williams, trumpet; Buster Bennett, alto sax; Blind John Davis, piano; possibly Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass.
Genres: Blues, City Blues, Urban Blues, Blues Guitar, Blues Piano, Arkansas Blues, Early Chicago Blues.
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. “I sold a one-eyed mule and I bought me an automobile” Big Bill Broonzy sang on his 1937 recording Good Boy. Metaphorically this had been true for several years as he had moved away from the simpler instrumentation and rural images of his earlier records into a world that was decidedly metropolitan. On his session of 1st March 1938 he augmented his basic piano, guitar, bass and drums line-up with the introduction of a tenor sax and the electric guitar of George Barnes. Barnes, a virtuoso who often performed as a duo with Jazzman Carl Kress, brought an entirely new sound to Sweetheart Land a rather trite song on which Bill calls to the sax player to “Play that thing” in a tone of voice that makes it sound as if he doesn’t even know what “that thing” is! The sound was edging towards what would come to be known as R & B. The pianist on the following session was Josh Altheimer who would fill the role of Big Bill Broonzy‘s premier accompanist up until his death on the 18th of February 1940. Altheimer, who was born in 1910, never had a record issued over his own name but was well known for his work with Lonnie Johnson, Jazz Gillum, Washboard Sam and John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson. He was never a hard boogie man either, though he could rock when called upon to do so, but preferred to work in a band setting where he would seldom take a solo but would hold everything together with his rolling style. Trumpet star Punch Miller was on hand again to liven up the 30th March 1938 session which produced Unemployment Stomp, a topical up-tempo number that made reference to Mr. Roosevelt’s unemployment cards, and Bill’s ode to his own sexual potency I Got To Get Ready Tonight. “Here come a train”, he calls, and his order for a pint of oysters and a dozen eggs indicates that although he intends to ride it won’t be down the I. C. track. At the same session, but without Miller, Bill cut a version of the Dirty Mother Fuyer theme as Truckin’ Little Woman. The stripped-down trio of piano, guitar and string bass was used on Bill’s next studio appointment when he cut It’s Your Time Now with his wry observation to his girl-friend “Men tell you that you’re beautiful (but) they don’t have to keep you that way”. The electric guitar and tenor sax were back for the next set, probably being played by Georges Barnes and Bill Owsley, who doubled on clarinet, respectively. Big Bill Broonzy used them to cash in on an extension of Roosevelt Sykes‘ Night Time hit, which had been recorded the previous year, and a version of Shake ‘Em On Down that was about as far removed from that of Bukka White as it could get. The last two tracks on this disc from a session labelled as being by Big Bill and The Memphis Five. This was a jazz date featuring both the trumpet and an alto sax. Let Me Dig It, a selection from the bawdy “butcher’s son” chain of verses, has what sounds like a twin trumpet lead while W. P A. Rag is a straight ahead jazz band work out.Keith Briggs Copyright 1993: Document Records.